Hi, hoomans! Halloween is almost here. George probably told you it’s one of my favorite holidays. He’s a tattletale, sometimes. But really, Halloween is just the beginning of a long, fun holiday season, filled with good food, lots of friends and family, parties, and even more good food!
If you’re a huge hound parent, you probably have to figure out the logistics of traveling with your big pups to Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas celebrations all over the country. It gets even harder when there are two (or more) large dogs to pack for. Fortunately, George and I travel all the time. We know all you need to know to make your trips easy and fun for all involved.
On the Road
The first big tip is this: Unless your pup is a certified service dog or support animal, don’t make your dogs fly. We’ve never been on a plane, but our mom was recently on a flight with China Southern Airlines and met another hooman’s emotional support pup in business class. The beautiful German Shepherd let her take a photo so she could show us when she got home.
Big dogs that aren’t allowed to be in the cabin to support their hoomans have to go in the cargo hold of the plane. It’s cold and really scary there, and I can promise you they won’t feel safe or happy. In fact, they might just be traumatized by the experience.
If you’re traveling long distances and want to bring your pups, be sure you plan a road trip. Some dogs may not like riding in a car, either, but it’s never so dangerous or terrifying as an airplane cargo hold.
No matter how comfy your dogs are with riding in a car, you must always restrain them. This is for their safety as well as yours. Dogs can be a distraction while you’re driving. They can also suffer injury if you get in a crash or even have to stop very suddenly.
If there’s room, crate your dogs for the trip. You can set seats down in order to get the crate in the back, if you have an SUV. If there isn’t room for a crate, get a secure harness that fastens to the seat belt. You should also create a barrier between the driver’s seat and the back seat to keep your pups from attempting to join you, just in case they’re geniuses who manage to Houdini their way out of harnesses.
Short trips may not require a stop in between, but if you’re heading out for a three-plus-hour drive, you’ll want to plan for some exercise and potty breaks. Plan ahead if you can to find dog parks near your chosen stop. This will give your pups the chance to run free and let out some pent-up energy.
If you can’t find dog parks along your route, take us for a quick, upbeat walk around the rest area so we can tire ourselves out. This helps in a couple of ways: We won’t be a distraction to you as we try to expend our energy in the back seat, and—for those anxious dogs—we get tired out so that we don’t have enough energy left to get scared.
Pack Us a Bag
If we’re going with you for an overnight trip, you’ll want to make sure you have a bag packed with all the essentials. My mom and dad pack a big bowl of food, a collapsible water bowl, our vet records (just in case!), some old rags and disinfectant wipes, extra poo bags, a first aid kit, and our favorite toy. You may also want to pack our raincoats in case you drive through bad weather.
If you’re planning to be gone for several nights, you may want to bring along some puppy pads, too. We don’t want to have an accident any more than you want us to, but sometimes things happen in unfamiliar places.
Plan Ahead for Lodging
Look, I personally don’t understand why some hotels don’t want big dogs around. George and I are perfect angels! But the reality is, it can be hard to find a stopping place that welcomes dogs of a certain size. We know most Marriott hotels allow dogs of any size but maybe that’s not always an option.
Whether you’re planning for a stopping point along the way or need to find lodging for when you arrive at your holiday destination, call ahead to make sure they accept huge hounds. You may have to pay a little extra for a damage deposit.
Here’s a quick tip if no pup-friendly hotels are available: Private short-term rental places may be more relaxed with their dog rules. Check AirBnB or VRBO for dog-friendly places. As an added bonus, you’ll get the comforts of home while you’re on your holiday vacation.
With these tips, your upcoming holiday travel will be a breeze! Just don’t put off planning too long.
Expect big things!